Pardoned Exeter academic still seeking justice exactly one year on from UAE prison release

A pardoned academic from Exeter who was released from solitary confinement in the United Arab Emirates one year ago still struggles with his mental health and is still seeking justice, he has revealed.

Matthew Hedges was accused of spying in the UAE in May 2018 and was forced to spend seven months in solitary confinement.

In November 2018 he was sentenced to life imprisonment at an Abu Dhabi court hearing but was pardoned later that month.

Now Mr Hedges has revealed that one year on, he continues to struggle with his mental health and has submitted an application to the UN in the hope his case will be investigated.

He said: "Since my release from the UAE one year ago, I have struggled with my mental health. The fact that I am no wiser in regards to the charges for which I was arbitrarily held and charged has made recovery even harder."

Mr Hedges spent seven months in solitary confinement. Credit: PA images

The company representing Mr Hedges said Jeremy Hunt, who was then Foreign Secretary, promised a formal investigation into the Foreign Office's handling of the case.

According to Hedges' lawyer, Rodney Dixon QC, the investigation promised by Mr Hunt hasn't happened.

The legal company has now lodged a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombundsman on behalf of Mr Hedges.

Today (26 November 2019), Hedges' representatives have also filed an application with the UN, in the hope the UAE will investigate his case.

Daniela Tejada campaigned for the government to intervene in her husband's case. Credit: Daniela Tejada/PA images

Mr Hedges, who was studying at Durham University at the time of his arrest, had travelled to the UAE to interview sources about the country's foreign policy and security strategy.

During his time there his wife Daniela Tejada led a campaign to free her husband and repeatedly called on the government to intervene.

She has also made a statement one year on from her husband's release.

Mr Hedges said despite choosing to "live in silence" since his return, he feels it's "crucial" that people speak out so that his experience doesn't happen to anyone else.